List of articles
by Rev. Michaël Merle (reported by John-Peter Gernaat)
What are elements and what are substances?
Science understands light matter. This is matter that is visible when light illumines it, unlike dark matter that is not visible in light.
Matter is complex and made up of compounds that in turn are composed of building blocks that we call elements. The basic constituent of an element is the atom. The word atom is derived from Greek and means ‘that which cannot be divided’. Yet we now know that the atom is made up of subatomic parts. At the core of every atom is its nucleus. The nucleus is made up of neutrons and protons. These neutrons and protons each have the same mass. The entire mass of an atom is in the nucleus. In the space around the nucleus there are electrons. Protons carry a positive charge while electrons, with negligible mass, have an equal but opposite charge: a negative charge. Atoms have a neutral charge by balancing their number of protons and electrons. If electrons are lost or gained the atom is referred to as an ion and carries a negative (gain of electrons) or positive (loss of electrons) charge.
Each element is distinct as a consequence of the number of protons in the nucleus. An atom with one proton in the nucleus is an atom of hydrogen. An atom with two protons in the nucleus is an atom of helium, and so forth. Certain elements may have varying numbers of neutrons in the nucleus of their atoms but they always have the same number of protons if they are atoms of the same element.
Carbon 12 or C12 has 6 neutrons and 6 protons in its nucleus, giving it the atomic mass of 12. It has 6 electrons to balance the protons. Carbon 12 is the standard for measuring atomic mass.
The Periodic Table contains about 116 to 120 elements although some new elements may still be added. Of these elements only 100 are stable. The others, and the new elements that we may discover are very unstable; they have very short lives, sometimes as short as a fraction of a second. They appear and as rapidly disappear. Everything in the entire universe, all light matter, is made up of these 100 elements. These elements are a material expression of the creation of the Divine.
In the past the word element had a different meaning. There were four elements or “roots” in the mindset of the ancient world. These were the element of earth, the element of water, the element of air and the element of fire.
Today we know that matter can exist in four phases: solid, liquid, gas and plasma. The substance does not change as it changes phase, it is the connection between the particles in the substance that changes.
What is communicated to us by the elements? If we are to develop an understanding of the Divine, we have two sources: the Bible and our Sacraments. Our Trinity Epistle provides us with a theology – an understanding of the Divine. From the Trinity Epistle we understand that the world of substance is a material manifestation of the spiritual and is provided by the very substance (nature) of the Father God.
Let us understand the meaning of the words we are using. ‘Substance’ consists of two words: ‘sub’ and ‘stance’. Sub means that which is under or below while stance means to stand. Therefore, substance means to understand. It is that which stand under everything. We stand on the ground of the world. That which stands under us is the Father Substance.
This Earth Incarnation was created by the Beings of Form, the Elohim. The substance of which everything is created lives under the Form. Matter can change its outer appearance and be transformed but it can also change its inner appearance through transubstantiation. Transubstantiation is possible only through Christ; it is something “I” must do through the Christ who lives in the “I“. No substance changes without the Christ. Substance fills out Form and carries Form. The outer appearance of things is its form – it is that which appears to us above the surface. The inner nature of things is its substance – that which is beneath the surface.
What is Form as a principle of the Divine? Form is movement come to rest. This understanding helps to explain the Vedic image of Shiva dancing creation. With every step that Shiva dances something disappears and something new appears. Shiva is both the dancer of the dance and the choreographer of what the dance creates. Therefore, substance is process come to rest. It is the interplay resting so that it becomes visible to see.
Two different processes will be considered. Firstly, the processes of fire, air, water and earth as expressed by the signs of the Zodiac. Processes come to rest are substances. The way in which the signs of the Zodiac express themselves through the processes of fire, air, water and earth manifest as substance. These processes are not the signs of fire, air, water and earth that are traditionally attributed to the signs of the Zodiac.
Secondly, the twelve substances that arise from the processes of the signs of the zodiac form three groups of four each. Each group forming a cross that is expressed in the relationship of the signs of the Zodiac. There is the cross of life that is expressed in the atmosphere, the cross of salt expressed in the oceans and of cross of the mineral substance expressed in the earth. There is an air cross, a water cross and an earth cross. There is no densification of fire to form a fire cross although fire processes are expressed in each of the crosses.
Paracelsus (c. 1493 – 24 September 1541), born Theophrastus von Hohenheim (full name Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim), was a Swiss physician, alchemist, lay theologian, and philosopher of the German Renaissance. He was a pioneer in several aspects of the "medical revolution" of the Renaissance, and he is credited as the "father of toxicology". He was interested in how the chemistry in medicines worked in the chemistry of the body. The word ‘chemistry’ is derived from the Greek meaning to cast together or to pour together. Paracelsus identified three primary processes that he said could dissolve into their separateness and then resolve in various combinations to carry their respective qualities of healing which he termed:
As a theologian he recognised that everything derives from the unity of the Divine which is a trinity in unity:
The combination of the fire and air element results in the sulphur process (the glyph of which is a fire-cross)
The combination of the air and water element results in the mercury process (the glyph of which is a whole-horned cross)
The combination of the water and earth element results in the salt process (the glyph of which is the encompassed Son-principle)
The Son God creating in us creates in the salt process.
Through the influence of Rudolf Steiner Dr Hauschka identified 12 elements that appear from the 12 signs of the Zodiac. Why those 12 of all the 100 elements that are operational in the Periodic Table? There are no metals present among these 12 elements – none of the 7 metals traditional to the ancient world. There is sense in this, as the metals were seen as having been gifted by the moving stars (planets), not the Zodiac. All 12 of the elements occur in the top 20 of the Periodic Table. These 12 are the 12 most common elements that can be found in the human body. There is one exception that will be pointed out in due course.
The place to begin reviewing the quality bestowed by the Zodiac to the substantiality of the element begins with the Fire Process and therefore begins in Leo. The direction follows the precession of the earth’s axis through the Zodiac which is the reverse to the way the Sun and planets move through the Zodiac.
Here is the chemical composition by elemental mass within the human being:
Aluminium is missing in the human body. In fact, aluminium is toxic to the human body. Balance is not achieved chemically in the human body. We must achieve balance through our own activity. The Christ forces have freed us from a chemical balance to find balance for ourselves.
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